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TBR News February 10, 2020

Feb 10 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 10, 2020:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for February 10: “I don’t know the President to speak to him but I know a number of staffers who do. The general opinion among neutrals is that he is getting crazier by the day. Because the Republican Senators refused to impeach him Trump has gone off the deep end, thinking God sent him to be King of America. If this sounds weird, I had two staff members discuss this, with me, at lunch today.”

“Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose”

The Table of Contents

Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget likely to get thumbs-down from Congress
• The mystery of President Trump’s unannounced hospital visit
• More than 100 US troops suffered traumatic brain injury in Iran strike, military to report
• From Gestapo Chief to senior CIA official.
• The Empty Drum Makes the Most Noise
• The True Origins of 911
• The Watchbird is WatchingYou!
• The numbers game in the political matrix
• Official Murders
• The Retreat in Georgia
• Official Drug Money Laundering
• Afghanistan Wars: Drugs for Fun and Profit
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget likely to get thumbs-down from Congress
February 10, 2020
by Jeff Mason
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 is likely to get a chilly reception from lawmakers on Monday over its proposals to slash spending on foreign aid and social safety net programs.
The White House plans to unveil the budget blueprint for the fiscal year starting on October 1 at 12:30 p.m. eastern time, but administration officials confirmed key figures from the document over the weekend.
Democrats are expected to object to the deep spending cuts on domestic programs, while some Republicans may raise concerns over debt and deficits.
The budget calls for a 21 percent cut in foreign aid to $44.1 billion, down from $55.7 billion enacted in fiscal year 2020. It would make savings in outlays to safety net programs including $130 billion in Medicare through drug pricing reforms, $292 billion to food stamp and Medicaid programs by enacting new work requirements for beneficiaries, and $70 billion through a clamp-down on eligibility for federal disability benefits.
An administration official said the White House was making the proposals for substantial cuts despite an assumption that Congress, which controls U.S. purse strings, would allocate more money on spending than Trump wants. With forecasts for strong economic growth, the budget predicts some $3.7 trillion in government receipts in the 2021 fiscal year.
Last year Trump signed a two-year budget deal with Congress that increased federal spending on defense and several other domestic programs, adding to growing government debt. That legislation authorized $2.75 trillion in new defense and non-defense spending through Sept. 30, 2021.
Trump’s budget is largely a political document.
It includes spending on Trump’s priorities as he seeks re-election later this year, including $2 billion to fund further construction on a border wall with Mexico, a project that is especially popular with his political base, and funding for an infrastructure bill that is unlikely to be passed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
Military spending would rise 0.3% to $740.5 billion.
The budget forecasts $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years and assumes economic growth at an annual rate of roughly 3 percent for years to come, officials said. Trump has taken credit for the strength of the U.S. economy thanks in part to tax cuts he championed and Congress passed earlier in his term. The budget funds an extension of those cuts over a 10-year period with $1.4 trillion.
The White House proposes to slash spending by $4.4 trillion over 10 years and reduce the deficit by $4.6 trillion in that time period.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Nick Zieminski

The mystery of President Trump’s unannounced hospital visit
by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
CNN
President Donald Trump’s unannounced visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last weekend spurred speculation about his health from the public, and from doctors. In a statement late Monday night, the White House doctor said that the President underwent “a routine, planned” checkup and attributed “scheduling uncertainties” for keeping the trip off the record.
Trump himself addressed the visit during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, saying, “I went for a physical on Saturday” because he had extra time. It was the first time he had been seen in public since that weekend’s visit.
We know that Trump is 73 years old, has heart disease and is clinically obese. For any man of that age and medical history, an unexpected visit to the hospital is concerning.
Over the past week, I have spoken to doctors who’ve previously worked at the White House and those who are currently in touch with the White House. They all say that what happened last weekend is unusual: an unscheduled hospital visit for what was characterized as very routine testing — testing that could have been done at the White House.
A surprise visit to Walter Reed
Given that the White House had previously given plenty of advance notice about the President’s past physical exams, last weekend’s visit to Walter Reed reportedly took everyone by surprise, including much of the staff at the hospital itself. Whenever the President is planning a visit to Walter Reed, an institution-wide notice goes out, making staff aware of certain road and corridor closings. According to a person familiar with the matter, that didn’t happen last weekend.
Also striking: the fact that the president’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, rode with Trump in the presidential motorcade. Typically, the doctor rides separately from the President for security reasons. A former White House doctor told me it had never happened during their time there.
I reached out to the White House to get further clarification on what testing or procedures had been done at Walter Reed hospital.
In return, we received on Monday evening a memo from Conley, who wrote “Despite some of the speculation, The President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues. Specifically, he did not undergo any specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations.”
Despite Conley’s memo, there are reasons why questions continue about President Trump’s unannounced visit to Walter Reed.
For starters, all the tests Conley described could’ve been performed at the White House instead of the hospital. Many blood tests require the patient to fast overnight and are thus performed first thing in the morning — not in the middle of the afternoon, as apparently happened with the President.
And remember, the President had these tests just nine months ago. One of the reasons doctors wait a year to order labs for a routine physical is to better assess the impact of medication and lifestyle changes over a consistent interval of time. There is no benefit to drawing the blood early, unless there is a concern about something.
Finally, there is no such thing as a phased physical exam, as Trump had described it in his tweet from last weekend.
In Conley’s memo, he described the visit as a “routine, planned interim checkup,” not a “physical exam.” Dr. Jennifer Peña, who served as a physician to Vice President Mike Pence until 2018, told CNN’s Jeremy Diamond that these two characterizations are significantly different.
“Routine annual is where we do a comprehensive history and physical exam, with any necessary labs and studies,” she said, while noting that an “interim checkup” suggests a “follow up” visit for a condition or medication that is being monitored.
As both a physician and a reporter who has covered four administrations, none of this adds up, and it raises the question: What do we really know about President Trump’s health?
An astonishing bill of health
Take a look back at what we’ve been told about Trump’s health over the years.
I’ve reported in the past about doctors who seemed to cater to Trump’s whims. One doctor who treated the President signed his name on a letter he later said Trump dictated. Another doctor said that he might live to be 200 years old.
When Trump was running for office in 2015, his campaign issued a letter from Trump’s then-personal physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, who wrote “His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary.” Bornstein added, “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
The letter stated that Trump “has had no significant medical problems” and called the candidate’s blood pressure and lab results “astonishingly excellent.” Bornstein wrote that his blood pressure was slightly better than average at 110/65 and that Trump had never had any form of cancer and only one operation in his entire life, when he was 10.
The hyperbolic letter immediately raised flags. It wasn’t a standard medical assessment of a patient’s health, which is an objective record. Aside from the flowery writing, it was notable that there was very little medical history described aside from a note that he took a daily aspirin and a low-dose statin.
It was hard not to notice the similarities between the over-the-top language used in the letter and the language that Trump was fond of using. Just over two years later, Bornstein alleged that very letter praising the candidate as a vision of health had been dictated by Trump himself. “He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN. “I just made it up as I went along.”
A history-making news conference
At the age of 70, President Trump was the oldest president sworn into office in American history and he used his first physical exam in 2018 as an opportunity to quiet critics who questioned both his physical and mental well-being.
The results of his exam were revealed during a news conference with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson on January 16, 2018.
I don’t recall ever covering a press conference where the president’s routine physical exam was the topic of discussion. The only other known White House physician to address the public on the results of the president’s physical was Dr. William Lukash, President Gerald Ford’s physician.
Jackson said that President Trump asked that he be administered a cognitive exam, which is not a routine part of a physical. Jackson, who had also been the physician to President Barack Obama, said it was the first time he was aware of any president taking any sort of cognitive test.
“He actively asked me to include that in it, so we did,” Jackson told reporters, including myself. Jackson said Trump received a 30 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a quick screening for mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease but not a diagnostic tool.
During the conference, we learned that Trump’s blood pressure was normal, but both his weight, 239 pounds, and his total cholesterol level, 223, were high.
In the official readout of the physical exam, the White House did not reveal that Trump also had a coronary calcium scan done. This test uses a CT (computed tomography) to look for the buildup of calcium plaques on the walls of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.
It was only after I questioned Jackson that he revealed the President had undergone the heart scan and scored 133, indicating that Trump had a common form of heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A score of 100 to 300 means moderate plaque deposits. It’s associated with a relatively high risk of heart attack or other heart disease over the next three to five years.”
Previous medical records indicate that in 2009 his coronary calcium score was 34, and in 2013 it was 98.
Jackson was prescriptive. “We’d like to get the LDL down below 120, so that’s what we’ll be shooting for,” he said. He added that he would like to see the President lose 10 to 15 pounds. He also increased the dosage of his statin.
But despite all of that, Jackson, like Bornstein before him, was also extraordinarily effusive about the President’s health. “It’s called genetics. I don’t know. Some people have just great genes.” Jackson added, “I told the President that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old.”
Jackson eventually became embroiled in political controversy over his nomination later that same year to lead the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Jackson is now considering a run for a Texas Congressional seat.
That is when Dr. Sean Conley, a doctor of osteopathy, took over the responsibilities of overseeing the President’s health.
The President’s 2019 physical
President Trump’s most recent full physical examination took place in February 2019, and it revealed that the 6-foot-3-inch Trump weighed 243 pounds, 4 more pounds than the previous year. It put his body mass index, or BMI, at 30.4, making him clinically obese by the guidelines from the National Institutes of Health.
The results released by Conley also noted that the President had increased his dose of rosuvastatin, a medication used to treat high cholesterol, to 40 mg per day. His cholesterol levels showed a total cholesterol of 196 — HDL of 58, and LDL of 122 — a decrease from the year before.
Trump’s blood pressure measured 118/80 and the President had been vaccinated for shingles and pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis and pneumonia.
Conley said the President was seen by 11 different specialists at Walter Reed, that the physical took “approximately four hours” and did not require any sedation or anesthesia.
Why doctors are worried about Trump
So, the question remains: Why was there a need for President Trump to be at a hospital on a Saturday afternoon? Any doctor who heard about a man with a history of heart disease and clinical obesity making an unannounced visit to a hospital would be worried the patient may be having symptoms that warrant that visit.
That is the reason why so many in the medical community remain concerned. Both a former White House doctor and a doctor currently in contact with the White House have raised their unease with me. “It’s concerning to me. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, you know, to do that kind of testing at Walter Reed without, really without provocation,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, cardiologist to former Vice President Dick Cheney. Reiner is authorized by the White House to speak about last weekend’s incident but is not privy to all of Trump’s medical records. He and the other doctor I spoke with expressed concern that a full picture of the President’s health is not being revealed.
Even basic information such as the President’s height and weight weren’t disclosed this time, let alone the results of any more sophisticated testing, once again leaving an incomplete and opaque picture of his health. Rather than detail what tests were performed last weekend, Conley emphasized what wasn’t performed on Trump in his memo. “Specifically, he did not undergo and specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations,” wrote Conley.
The health of the President has far-reaching implications. The President has no obligation to share any of his health history with the public, but we should be confident that the president of the United States is receiving the best care possible.
On Friday, the president called into Fox and Friends and said the hospital visit was done at the suggestion of his doctor. “The doctor calls, “Sir, would you like to go out because I have three hours. Would you like to go out to Walter Reed and do your first part of the physical?”
Regardless of what prompted the trip to Walter Reed, the President’s surprise visit to the hospital sends an important message. Get checked out if you are having unusual symptoms. While we don’t know what symptoms, if any, pushed Trump to go to the hospital last weekend, it appears as if they have resolved and were unlikely severe or requiring intensive therapy. Conley wrote that the visit was just a little more than an hour of exams, labs and discussions and Trump has been in the public eye since then.
The greater concern here isn’t whether the White House medical team is being honest with the public. It’s whether the team is being honest with the President himself. If they are simply following the patient’s orders instead of acting independently, they are treating the President’s whims as much as they are treating his health.
CNN’s Nadia Kounang contributed to this report.

More than 100 US troops suffered traumatic brain injury in Iran strike, military to report
• TBI cases jump more than 50% from the 64 reported
• Trump previously downplayed reports of brain injury
February 10, 2020
The Guardian
The US military is preparing to report a more than 50% jump in the number of cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) stemming from Iran’s missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, US officials told Reuters on Monday.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there were now over 100 cases of TBI, up from the 64 that had been previously reported last month.
The Pentagon declined to comment, but in the past had said to expect an increase in numbers in the weeks after the attack because symptoms can take time to manifest and troops can sometimes take longer to report them.
Donald Trump had previously said that the US “suffered no casualties” from the attack, which was a reprisal for the US drone strike assassination of the Iranian Gen Qassem Suleimani.
Questioned later about reports of brain injury, Trump downplayed their severity: “I heard that they had headaches. And a couple of other things. But I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious.”
Speaking after Trump’s remarks, Michael Kaplen, the chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, said that the condition is a “life-altering” injury.
“It’s physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences affect every aspect of an individual’s life,” he said. “A brain injury is only ‘mild’ if it is someone else’s brain. There is nothing ‘mild’ about a mild brain injury.”
Pentagon officials have repeatedly said there has been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries. But the disclosures following Tehran’s attack have renewed questions over the US military’s policy regarding how it internally reports suspected brain injuries and whether they are treated publicly with the same urgency as loss of limb or life.

From Gestapo Chief to senior CIA official.

On May 22, 1945, a German Wehrmacht General, Reinhard Gehlen, the former head of the German Army High Command’s Foreign Armies East, surrendered along with his key staff members to the United States military at Fischhausen in southern Germany.
Gehlen’s unit was responsible for gathering and analyzing military intelligence on the Soviet Union,. His staff accomplished this by interrogating prisoners in army POW camps—captured Soviet military personnel and, in their headquarters—Soviet defectors. They also studied battlefield intelligence from captured Soviet documents, maps and code books. Further material was obtained by signals intelligence which listened to Soviet non-coded, low-level combat unit radio traffic. These methods of gathering combat intelligence are standard procedures still used by all armies.
During the war, Gehlen did not have intelligence agents in the Soviet Union. The General was not accustomed to gathering and analyzing Soviet political data. Unlike ‘Gestapo’ Müller, whose radio playback section had direct contact with very high-level Soviet intelligence agents inside Russia, Gehlen dealt strictly with combat intelligence.
On August 26, 1945, Gehlen and four of his closest assistants were flown to Washington for substantive talks with U.S. authorities. Gehlen was the subject of an inter-agency struggle when Allen Dulles of the OSS, once their station chief in Switzerland during the war, and General William Donovan, commander of the agency, attempted to secure Gehlen and his files for themselves. Dulles eventually won and his assistant Frank Wisner was appointed to oversee the former head of Foreign Armies East.
The Gehlen team was based at Fort Hunt, near Washington. Gehlen began his new career by preparing a series of reports which were well received. In July of 1946, Gehlen returned to Germany, and set up shop at Pullach, a former housing project for elite Nazi officials such as Martin Bormann. Gehlen was instructed to build an intelligence agency capable of conducting the highest level surveillance of the Soviets. His microfilmed files were sold to U.S. intelligence for $5 million.
Considering that these files only contained material on Soviet military units that had long been disbanded or were no longer combat ready, Gehlen was very well paid for very cold coffee.
Since Gehlen had no experience with internal Soviet intelligence or with their foreign intelligence, he was hard-pressed to use his former army staff officers to supply the United Stateswith relevant material. In 1946, Gehlen hired Willi Krichbaum, formerly the deputy chief of the Gestapo, as his senior agent recruiter.
While Gehlen had no experience with Soviet spies, the Gestapo certainly did, and Krichbaum immediately sought out to hire many of his old associates.
At the same time, Krichbaum contacted his former chief, Heinrich Müller, formerly head of the Gestapo who was now a resident in Switzerland, and a respected and wealthy citizen.
Müller was, by no means, inactive in his enforced retirement and was in contact with Krichbaum almost from the beginning of his exile. Lengthy handwritten reports from Krichbaum to Müller spanning nearly three years exist and, while Müller’s correspondence to Krichbaum is not in his files, the Krichbaum correspondence indicates without a doubt, that “Gestapo” Müller was supplying his former deputy with reams of information on prospective employees for the new Gehlen organization, as well as a flood of concise directives on the structure necessary to implement the needs of the US intelligence.
In 1946, Gehlen began the construction of his new agency, while the Soviet military machine in the East Zone of Germany was in the process of downsizing. The Second World War had proven to be a terrible economic disaster to Stalin. His troops were in the process of dismantling German factories which were still intact, ripping up the railroad system, and sending their spoils back to Russia.
The American armed forces were also being sharply reduced, since the war in the Pacific had ended in 1945. Military units were disbanded and their soldiers returned to civilian life as quickly as possible. On the economic front, businesses that had enjoyed lucrative government military contracts found themselves with empty assembly lines and tens of thousands of laid off workers.
It has been said that there never was a good war nor a bad peace. While the latter was certainly beneficial to the Soviets and permitted them to rebuild their economy, it certainly was not beneficial for either the rapidly-shrinking military or business communities in the United States.
This situation permitted the development of the Gehlen organization and secured its position as a vital American political resource. The U.S. had virtually no military intelligence knowledge of the Soviet Union. But the Germans, who had fought against them for four years, had. Gehlen and his military staff only had knowledge of wartime Soviet military units which were either reduced to cadre or entirely disbanded. However, this was of no interest to the senior officials of U.S. intelligence. Gehlen was to become a brilliant intelligence specialist with an incredible grasp of Soviet abilities and intentions. This preeminence was almost entirely fictional. It was designed to elevate Gehlen in the eyes of American politicians including President Truman and members of Congress, and to lend well-orchestrated weight to the former General’s interpretation of his employer’s needs.
In 1948, Stalin sent troops into Czechoslovakia after a minority but efficient communist coup that overthrew the Western-oriented government. This act, in February of 1948, combined with the blockade of West Berlin, then occupied by the British, French and Americans in June of the same year, gave a group of senior American military leaders a heaven-sent opportunity to identify a new and dangerous military enemy—an enemy which could and would attack Western Europe and the United States in the immediate future.
To facilitate the acceptance of this theory, Gehlen was requested to produce intelligence material that would bolster it in as authoritative a manner as possible. This Gehlen did and to set the parameters of this report, Gehlen, General Stephen Chamberlain, Chief of Intelligence of the U.S. Army General Staff, and General Lucius D. Clay, U.S. commander in occupied Germany met in Berlin in February of 1948, immediately after the Czech occupation but before the blockade.
After this meeting, Gehlen drew up a lengthy and detailed intelligence report categorically stating that 135 fully-equipped Soviet divisions, many armored, were poised to attack. General Clay forwarded this alarming example of creative writing to Washington and followed up with frantic messages indicating his fear that the Soviets were about to launch an all-out land war on the United States.
Although the sequence of events might indicate that Clay was involved in an attempt to mislead U.S’ leaders, in actuality, he was misled by Chamberlain and Gehlen. They managed to thoroughly frighten General Clay and used him as a conduit to Washington. He was not the last to fall victim to the machinations of the war party.
The Gehlen papers were deliberately leaked to Congress and the President. This resulted in the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. This was not a historical first by any means.
Elements in England at the beginning of the 20th century, alarmed at the growing economic threat of a united Germany, commenced a long public campaign designed to frighten the British public and their leaders into adopting a bellicose re-armament program based on a fictional German military threat.
Gehlen and his organization were considered vital to U.S. interests. As long as the General was able to feed the re-armament frenzy in Washington with supportive, inflammatory secret reports, then his success was assured.
The only drawback to this deadly farce was that the General did not have knowledge of current Soviet situations in the military or political fields. He could only bluff his way for a short time. To enhance his military staffs, Gehlen developed the use of former SS Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and Gestapo people, brought to him by Krichbaum, his chief recruiter.
At the same time, Krichbaum contacted his former chief, Heinrich Müller, former head of the Gestapo, who was now a resident in Switzerland, and a respected and wealthy citizen. Müller was, by no means, inactive in his enforced retirement and was in contact with Krichbaum almost from the beginning of his exile.
Lengthy handwritten reports from Krichbaum to Müller spanning nearly three years exist and, while Müller’s correspondence to Krichbaum is not in his files, the Krichbaum correspondence indicates without a doubt, that “Gestapo” Müller was supplying his former deputy with reams of information on prospective employees for the new Gehlen organization, as well as a flood of concise directives on the structure necessary to implement the needs of the US intelligence.
At the same time, a joint British-American project called “Operation Applepie” was launched with the sole purpose of locating and employing as many of the former Gestapo and SD types now being employed by Gehlen.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all
In 1973, West German authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of Heinrich Müller, formerly head of the Gestapo, having good reason to believe that he did not die in Berlin in 1945.
That Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA as an expert on Soviet intelligence is obviously not a subject the CIA wishes to have made public, their clumsy attempts to silence public comment on this is understandable.
Correspondence, in U.S. files, between German legal agencies and their U.S. counterparts indicates unhappiness, frustration and growing displeasure on the part of the Germans and classic stonewalling on the part of the Americans.
Portions of Müller’s U.S. CIC files now in Ft. Meade, Md, have been censored. None of the documents once refused to researchers deal with immediate postwar searches for Müller but cover a much later period. The reasons given for continued classification is that their release would adversely affect U.S. national security.
The extensive files of Heinrich Müller represent a treasure trove of historical material. The natural repository for such a collection should rightfully be an archive or institution where the entire body of documentation would be available to anyone wishing to conduct research. They are also a source of intense embarrassment for the CIA .
But the Müller papers and CIA secret documents, in private hands, are now being prepared for general publication and will be available to all and sundry, and the general attitude of senior archivists and CIA and BND officials is now one of dismay and fury.

The Empty Drum Makes the Most Noise

Trump has been a manipulative, thoroughly dishonest, businessman as evident in his methodology of non-payment of bills, planting false information, threatening those who dare to criticize him, constant boasting, chronic lying and short-term memory problems.
He has, unfortunately, brought his defects to the Oval Office and we constantly see such fictions rampant as ‘The Poisoned Russians in Britain,” “Spies in the Presidential campaign,” threats to put tariffs on various foreign imports, theats to use military force on perceived uncooperative former allies, and a host of other actions that Trump hopes will energize legions of far-right and Jewish voters to support him in the next election.
Because Trump has led an insulated life and gets what he wants by connivance and threats, he is out of touch with reality.
His negative actions are seen daily on the Internet and in the media and these build up with even the most stupid voter.
He has, often deliberately, antagonized such a large field of potential opponents that his hubris will destroy him and, in the end, cause chaos and disruption in the United States and many other countries.
Since Trump is used to having his way in the business world, he is of the opinion that his successful techniques in that field will work just as well in the political one.
The only positive aspect of the coming storm is that many disparate groups will join against Trump in a common cause and force him from the White House.
There will be many far right supporters, Jewish groups and others who will mourn his passing and as a parallel, today in Russia, who is fortunate to have a successful and effective president, there are still some who yearn for the return of the murderous Josef Stalin.
Washington has always been a city filled with rumors, speculations, gossip, and many manifestations of self-importance.
I had lunch the other day with a member of one of the alphabet agencies who told me, in strict confidence, that his agency had ‘positive proof’ that Trump had gay connections when he was younger and still lived back in the closet.
He said that Trump’s very aggressive (and blatantly crude) attitudes towards women was a sure indicator of his orientation and that his wife was keeping their attractive son as far away from his attentions as she could.
I would dismiss this as gossip save for the fact that I have been hearing the same theme from others, one of whom is a prominent psychologist who deals extensively with closeted males.
If all of this is true, my informant assured me, it would soon emerge in public via a ‘cooperative blogger’ and an even more cooperative mainline media.
Interesting times we live in.

The True Origins of 911
Given the weak origins of Bush’s presidency, Rove contemplated his own Reichstag Fire and when the Israeli Mossad reported to the top Bush administration officials that they had penetrated a group of Saudi terrorists working in Hollywood, Florida and that this group was planning an aerial attack on important American business and government targets, Rove had found his Reichstag Fire.
Bush was informed by the Israeli government at every stage of the pending attack but advised the Israelis that he did not want to interfere with it “until the last possible moment so as to be able to arrest the entire group.”
As the plot progressed and Washington learned that the major targets would be the World Trade Centers in New York, and the Pentagon and the Capitol building in Washington, someone high up in the administration, currently unknown, wanted the Israelis to convince the Saudis to attack the side of the Pentagon that was currently unoccupied due to reconstruction. There was no point, the plotters decided, to kill the useful Secretary of Defense who was a member of their team.
The attack on the Capitol would, they reasoned, fall when Congress was in session ( In 2001, the first session of the 107th Congress was from January 3, 2001 through December 20, 2001 and the House and Senate planned to begin their 10 day Thanksgiving recess, between November 17 and November 27 of that year) and this meant that if a large commercial aircraft, loaded with aviation fuel, slammed at high speed into either wing of the immense building while Congress was in session, it could reasonably be expected that a siginficant number of Federal legislatiors would be killed or incapacitated.
This, coupled with the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC, would give the Bush people the very acceptable excuse for the President to step up, (after he returned from a safe and distant vacation,) and assume ‘special powers” to “protect this nation from new attacks” until Congress could be “satisfactorily reformed” via somewhat distant “special elections” to fill the vacancies created by the Saudi attackers.
Then, it would be quite acceptable, and even demanded, that the Army would establish “law and order” in the country and that other agencies would step forward to “guard this nation against” possible “ongoing terrorist attacks.” ‘Speak not of the morrow for thou knowest not what it might bring forth’ is a Biblical admonition that apparently Bush, Rove and Cheney never considered.
The aircraft designated to slam into the Capitol building and immolate both sides of the aisle, crashed as the very fortunate result of its passenger’s actions and that part of the plan had to be shelved. But not so the formulation of the machinery designed solely to clamp down on any possible dissident voices in the country and ensure a very long term Republican policical control.
The Saudi terrorist attacks went forward as planned, minus the one on the members of Congress and Bush indeed rose to the occasion and promised to protect the American public. A Department of Homeland Security was set up under the incompetent Governor Ridge but as for the rest of the plan for Republic permanence, it began to disintegrate bit by bit, due entirely to the gross incompetence of its leaders.

The Watchbird is WatchingYou!
Government surveillance of the American public is very widespread and at the present time, almost every aspect of an American citizen, or resident, is available for official surveillance. This includes mail, television viewing, telephone conversations, computer communications, travel, ownership of property, medical and school records, banking and credit card transactions, inheritances and other aspects of a citizen’s daily life.
This is done to circumvent any possible organization that could contravene official government policy and has its roots in massive civil resistance to governmental policy during the war in Vietnam. The government does not want a reprise of that problem and its growing surveillance is designed to carefully watch any citizen, or groups of citizens, who might, present or future, pose a threat to government policy.
Another factor to be considered is the current American attitudes towards racial issues. There has always been prejudice in the United States against blacks. In 1943 there were bloody riots in Detroit and Los Angeles, the former aimed at blacks and the latter against Mexicans. Since then, there has been chronic racial prejudice but it has been relatively small and very local. Also, there is growing anti-Semitic prejudice in American but this is officially ignored and never is mentioned in the American media. Much of this growing problem is directed at the brutal actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israelis have an undue influence in the American political scene. The very far right so-called neo-cons are almost all Jewish and most are Israeli citizens. Also, the middle-level ranks of American CIA personnel are heavily infiltrated by Israelis and it is said that any secret the CIA has is at once passed to Israel and that countries needs are assuming importance in CIA actions.
The attitudes of the working class Americans were inflamed during the last presidential elections by Mr. Trump who catered to them and encouraged rebellious attitudes. By speaking against Central American illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump has caused a polarization of attitudes and the militant right wing in America, currently small in number but well-organized and potentially very dangerous, has begun to make its views very well known in public demonstrations.

The numbers game in the political matrix

There were 56.5 million Hispanics in the United States in 2015, accounting for 17.6% of the total U.S. population.
The Hispanic Mexican population of the United States is projected to grow to 107 million by 2065.
The share of the U.S. population that is Hispanic has been steadily rising over the past half century. In 2015, Hispanics made up 17.6% of the total U.S. population, up from 3.5% in 1960, the origins of the nation’s Hispanic population have diversified as growing numbers of immigrants from other Latin American nations and Puerto Rico settled in the U.S.
For example, between 1930 and 1980, Hispanics from places other than Mexico nearly doubled their representation among U.S. Hispanics, from 22.4% to 40.6%. But with the arrival of large numbers of Mexican immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s, the Mexican share among Hispanics grew, rising to a recent peak of 65.7%.
California has the largest legal poplation of Mexicans, 14,013,719. And California is also home to almost 25% of the country’s undocumented population. California is followed by Texas where 31.14%,(8,500,000) are Mexican, Florida has 4,223,806 Mexicans, Illinois 2,153,000, Arizona,1,895,149, Colorado, 1,136,000 Georgia, 923,000, North Carolina, 890,000, and Washington, 858,000 Mexicans.
Given the fact that President Trump has strong personal dislikes for both Blacks and Latinos, manifest in his recent vicious treatment of Mexican immigrants in their legal attempts to immigrate to the United States, the sheer number of Mexicans now resident in the United States ought to give him, and his far-right Republican Congressional supporters serious pause in their denial of entrance for legal immigrant attempts and the subsequent brutal maltreatment of small children of these immigrants.
If the Mexican voting population of the United States were to organize, like the recent organizing of the black voting population of Alabma in opposition to the fanatical Judge Moore, the results in the November elections could well prove to be a stunning disaster for both Trump and the Republicans.
There are 37,144,530 non-Hispanic blacks resident in the United States, which comprise 12.1% of the population. This number increased to 42 million according to the 2010 United States Census, when including Multiracial African Americans, making up 14% of the total U.S. population.
Numbers certainly count but Trump is obviously unaware of their potential danger, both to him and his right-wing radical supporters. If either, or both, of these groups of eligible American voters organize, they could without question oust Trump from the presidency without recorse to impeachment proceedings in Congress.

Official Murders
On 10 April 2010, a Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft of the Polish Air Force crashed near the city of Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 people on board. Among the victims were the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria, the former President of Poland in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski, the chief of the Polish General Staff and other senior Polish military officers, the president of the National Bank of Poland, Polish Government officials, 18 members of the Polish Parliament, senior members of the Polish clergy and relatives of victims of the Katyn massacre. The group was arriving from Warsaw to attend an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the massacre, which took place not far from Smolensk.
The pilots were attempting to land at Smolensk North Airport – a former military airbase – in thick fog, with visibility reduced to about 500 meters (1,600 ft). The aircraft descended far below the normal approach path until it struck trees, rolled inverted and crashed into the ground, coming to rest in a wooded area a short distance from the runway.
In this case, a man code-named ‘Corey’ was able to alter the signals on the airport landing area to show the ground twenty-seven feet lower than it actually was.
‘Corey’ was a member of a CIA group called ‘Summerfield II’ that was run by a CIA officer named Russle.
His real name is George Macalister, his date of birth is 5.29.42 and his American Social Security number SS # 465-80-9315, his email address is :
george_macalister@hotmail.com (G137596.)
The reason why the aircraft was destroyed is because the US wanted Poland to be a supportive member of countries facing Russia who were to form a bloc of American-supportive entites designed to threaten Russia both militarily and economically. The Poles were flying to Smolensk to take part, with Russian officials in a memorial to the Stalin-killed Polish officers at Katyn during the Second World War. This rapproachment was anathema to the CIA and had to be somehow disrupted. Hence we had the entire Polish government wiped out in a single action as an object lesion to others.
After the installation of a CIA-friendly government in the Ukraine and a pending revoking of the Russian lease on the Sebastopol naval base, on April 15, 2014, CIA Director John Brennan and is staff flew into Kiev and met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema to discuss the formation of new, more secure channels for sharing U.S. intelligence with the country now fighting pro-Russian secessionists in its eastern cities.
Shortly after this, on July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The rocket projectors used in this attack were of Russian origin but had been sold to the Ukrainian military ten years earlier.
This operation was also run by the ‘Summerfield II’ people.

The Retreat in Georgia
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War (in Russia also known as the Five-Day War) was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other.
During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia. Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops in South Ossetia, and launching airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.
When the Russian incursion was seen as massive and serious, U.S. president George W. Bush’s statement to Russia was: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” The US Embassy in Georgia, describing the Matthew Bryza press-conference, called the war an “incursion by one of the world’s strongest powers to destroy the democratically elected government of a smaller neighbor”.
Initially the Bush Administration seriously considered a military response to defend Georgia, but such an intervention was ruled out by the Pentagon due to the inevitable conflict it would lead to with Russia. Instead, Bush opted for a softer option by sending humanitarian supplies to Georgia by military, rather than civilian, aircraft. And he ordered the immediate evacuation of all American military units from Georgia. The huge CIA contingent in the Georgian capital fled by aircraft and the American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, evacuated quickly to the Black Sea where they were evacuated by the U.S. Navy. British and Israeli military units also fled the country and all of them had to leave behind an enormous amount of military equipment to include tanks, light armored vehicles, small arms, radio equipment, and trucks full of intelligence data they had neither the time nor foresight to destroy.
The immediate result of this demarche was the defection of the so-called “NATO Block” eastern Europeans from the Bush/CIA project who saw the United States as a paper tiger that would not, and could not, defend them against the Russians. In a sense, the Russian incursion into Georgia was a massive political, not a military, victory.
The CIA was not happy with the actions of Vladimir Putin and when he ran for reelection, they poured money into the hands of Putin’s enemies, hoping to reprise the Ukrainian Orange Revolution but the effort was in vain.
And when the Poles, nervous about the apparent speed with which the US forces had abandoned their bases in Georgia, were in the progress of establishing a rapprochement with Vladimir Putin, the CIA moved to prevent this. The top Polish government was slated to fly into Smolensk for a ceremony to mark the killing by Stalin of many Polish officer prisoners of war. Someone, the Russians are sure was CIA, tampered with the landing signals on the airfield so that the foggy landing strip appeared to be at a lower altitude. The plane, with the entire upper level of the Polish government, slammed into the ground, killing all of the passengers.
Elegant diplomacy executed by true gentlemen! And never let your children anywhere near any of them.

Official Drug Money Laundering

It is no secret in various official circles here in Washington, that the failed Deutsche Bank was firmly in the hands of the CIA and was used by them to finance various projects, to include assisting their Russian drug running friends to launder money. Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.
The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”
It wasn’t just Donald Trump who maintained a warm relationship with Deutsche. The German bank looked after his entire family. Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and Kushner’s mother Seryl Stadtmauer were all Deutsche clients.
The large German financial conglomerate Deutsche Bank, later to become one of Donald Trump’s favored institutions, became entangled with Russia after the bank bought boutique investment bank UFG in order to gain entry into Moscow’s financial markets. UFG’s chairman, Charles Ryan, was an American banker; his partner was Boris Fyodorov, formerly Russia’s Finance Minister in the Yeltsin administration. Deutsche’s future co-CEO, Anshu Jain, was the one who wants Deutsche to become more involved with Russia. Other investment banks soon found Deutsche’s business practices suspicious. Christopher Barter, at the time the CEO of Goldman Sachs Moscow, said later: “They were doing some very curious things. Nobody could make sense of their business. We found the nature and concentration of their business with VTB (Vneshtorgbank) quite galling. Nobody else could touch VTB.”
VTB was known to be deeply connected to Russian intelligence, the FSB.
Trump is also well-known to have been up to his wattled neck in this project, a project to which elements of the German government not infiltrated by the CIA were informed and have reacted by firing known CIA-paid bank employees and firing carload lots of them, 74,000 in total. Eventually this will come out, hopefully before the next election.

Afghanistan Wars: Drugs for Fun and Profit

It ought to be recognized that part of the so-called Afghan opium pipeline runs through the United Arab Emirates on its way to Kosovo where it is refined into heroin and shipped up into Europe.
Opium crops located in Afghanistan, over 95% of the world’s opium production, is protected by US CIA people and elements of the American military who have made themselves responsible for the bulk of the illegal heroin markets worldwide.
There is a deliberate effort to convince the bulk of the public that opium in Afghanistan is a Taliban operation but in fact it is not
An ‘Afghanistan Opium Survey’ details the ongoing and steady rise of Afghan opium production. In stated: “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”
In 2011 a US MI report had stated, very clearly, that US military convoys operating from Pakistani ports were specifically used to ship both raw opium and refined heroin out of that country and to South American ports.
And then there are the origins, and development of the CIA’s modus operandi.
In what is called the Golden Triangle area, during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos — complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set-up of nefarious Air America to export the raw gum opium by CIA-owned aircraft, to Columbia where it was, and is, being refined into heroin.
During its involvement with the war in SEA, the CIA used the Hmong groups to counter the activities of the Pathet Lao groups. The Hmongs used the profits from their opium productions to live on. The CIA protected the opium trade and very soon, realizing the profits to be made from it, expanded their control over the opium-growing business. The Hmong were very important to CIA operations and the CIA was very concerned with their well-being. The CIA began to export raw opium from the north and east of the Plain of Jars to Long Tieng and later, during the height of the Vietnam wars, began to take a great interest in the very large and successful Afghanistani opium fields.
A Pakistani intelligence report based on Pashtun sources, most specifically indicates that the controlling factor in the opium production is not Muslim but American.
According to Pakistani government intelligence, the CIA is heavily involved with al-Quaeda and IS and introduced them into Afghanistan for guerrilla actions so as to be able to convince Washington to increase the number of American troops into that country to protect the highly profitable opium fields.
If one looks at a map showing the locations of the known opium fields in Afghanistan and then looks at another map showing US military units in place, the two are nearly identical.
Russian intelligence is well aware that the US CIA and the Pentagon are secretly supporting the Saudi-raised Sunni IS, a branch of which is now very active in Afghanistan.
It is very well known that a major portion of Afghanistani gum opium is taken over by CIA people and most of it is shipped to Columbia.
A portion of this opium goes to Kosovo where it is also refined and then shipped up through Germany to Russia. This annoys the Russians who have made a strong effort to put a halt to something that killed over 50,000 Russians last year from heroin overdoses.
Here we have an interesting situation.
Russia, with good reason, objects to having heroin smuggled into her country and attempts to put a stop to it.
The United States, a country that, via its agencies, is heavily involved in the international drug trade, objects to this attitude.
Therefore, in addition to all Russia’s oil and gas which America badly needs, the US has an excellent motive for making Russia a handy enemy.
Enemies are necessary to stimulate public support for more profitable (to some at least) small wars.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccuratre.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

.

Chapter 82

‘Amazing Grace’ was the name of an upscale florist shop in the Castro district of San Francisco and not the nickname of a gymnastic prostitute. It was run by two gentlemen named Michael; one was Michael Tinsley and the other was Michael Karpinsky.
The former was tall, thin and blonde and the other short dark and very muscular and both were unmistakably gay. The shop specialized in supplying floral pieces for gay weddings and did reasonably well financially.
On Thursdays it was the duty of Michael Tinsley to open the shop while his associate and lover filled their delivery van with fresh flowers from the wholesalers in North Beach.
San Francisco is cold and damp in the winter months and Tinsley was wearing a fetching fur coat over his tank top as he fumbled with the lock on the front door.
He sensed rather than saw someone coming into the recessed entry and then sensed nothing at all as three bullets from a silenced .22 smashed into his head.
When the other Michael tried to open the door from the inside, what was left of his partner’s shattered head fell onto his shoes and thoroughly ruined the rest of his day.
The San Francisco police, who were not noted for either their intelligence or forensic abilities, deduced that the first Michael was probably killed as the result of a lover’s quarrel and that the second Michael had managed, somehow, to shoot him through a glass door without breaking the glass. No charges were ever filed but the police managed to inform all the neighboring shop owners of their suspicions.
The dead florist was still warm when Mark Mitnik received a call on his private line. It was from one Lazlo Kovacs, once a member of the Hungarian secret police and now a free-lance assassin.
Shortly after listening to the message that the jade had been purchased, Mitnik drove over to the Rush building and delivered to Charles Rush the long awaited and most welcome news that his obstructionist nephew had been finally removed from the land of the living.
Rush was delighted and said, as he handed a thick envelope full of large denomination bills to the equally delighted attorney,
“It took long enough Mark. Much too long. Fine. Now, I can finally sell off my father’s goddam white elephant of a house and dispose of his art collection. But I am going to have to obtain proof of Cyril’s death before I can take control of the estate. Get this for me as soon as possible. Yesterday would be perfect but tomorrow will do. A florist shop? I always thought the asshole was some kind of a faggot and now I know. Well, he got my son killed and now I had him killed. It’s biblical, Mark, biblical.”

While his uncle was calling the Chinese real estate developer who wished to purchase his late father’s huge estate on Chicago’s North Shore, a massive storm was bearing down on that area at over sixty miles an hour.
In Minnesota, his dead nephew was sleeping heavily when a distant voice intruded into his disconnected and very unpleasant dreams.
Although it was only four in the afternoon, the sky outside the uncurtained windows was black and in his confused state, he thought it was after midnight.
There was a large fire snapping on the grate and the voice was coming from Alex.
“Are you awake, Chuck?”
“What?”
“You are awake. We got a huge storm going on and Claude wants to know if we should close the shutters.”
Chuck shook his head and sat up.
“Windy?”
“Oh very. I sure am not going to open these windows unless you want snow all over the fucking floor.”
“Language.”
“If I open the fucking windows, Dad, there will be fucking snow all over the nice floor. Well?”
“You woke me up for this?”
“No. Gwen crawled into the big fireplace downstairs and set herself on fire.”
“Oh shit!”
“Just kidding. She’s asleep and I think she’s full of something because she won’t wake up. I tried. I say fuck the shutters. What do you say?”
“I say you have a bad mouth on you. Jesus, what time is it, anyway?”
“About four. You’ve been sleeping all day. Claude finally told me about the hospital and stuff.”
Chuck pulled back the bedding and then changed his mind. In spite of the fire the room was too cold to bother with. Pulling the covers up over his head, he decided to go back to sleep but Alex sat in a chair and began a cheerful conversation with him.
“I hear Gwen had a baby. Is that right?”
The reply was muffled.
“What did you say?”
The covers flew back.
“I said to mind your own business.”
“It’s my baby, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s a blob of something that probably ended up down the clinic toilet. Can’t you leave me alone, rat child?”
“It was my baby. Maybe I can put some flowers down the toilet and be nice. Are you hungry?”
“Yes.”
“Good. I have some nice sandwiches here on the table and a cup of tea. You want to eat now?”
Chuck finally sat up again.
“I guess so. We may as well leave the windows alone. I found out they’re tempered glass so they won’t break. What are you doing up here anyway?”
“I came up to bring you some food and find out what happened at the hospital. Is that OK?”
“The food, yes. Forget the hospital. And don’t discuss this with Gwen, OK?”
Alex brought over the tray with the food and set it down on the bedside table.
“I guess not. Watch out, the tea is really hot.”
There was a small eruption of steaming tea onto the comforter.
“I just discovered that. You might have said something before I drank half of it. I think I burned my tonsils out.”
“You can put them down the toilet too, along with my kid. I guess she blames me for the baby, doesn’t she?”
“These sandwiches are really good. Blame? Probably. What do they say? Five minutes of pleasure and nine months of grief?”
“Five minutes? Hey, speak for yourself, Chuck. More like five hours. And she loved every second and every inch of it.”
Chuck sipped carefully out of the cup and washed a mouth full of smoked salmon down his smarting throat.
“You know, Alex, Gwen had a rough time of it last night and you aren’t very funny sometimes.”
“I had a bad life, Chuck, and it’s not my fault if I’m not full of love. If you want, I’ll cry a little to make you feel better and I guess I can have that other sandwich because you’re so sad.”
“Hey, butt breath, keep your fucking hands off the sandwich.”
“Oh, you cursed and swore! Jesus will really twist your balls one of these days.”
“Jesus never existed so how can he twist my testicles?”
“OK, Chuck, how about the Easter Bunny coming along and doing it?”
“How about the Celestial Easter Bunny? With stigmata and a nimbus.”
“What’s that?”
“Nail holes and a halo.”
“You mean you think Jesus is a rabbit with a basket of goddam eggs? That’s pretty sick. Just like telling me my very own kid went down the toilet. Got any idea how sad that makes me feel, Chuck? I’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight but I just remembered that I put another sandwich in my pocket so you can eat yours. Anyway, I dropped one of them on the floor and the cat pissed on it. Maybe that’s the one you’re munching on.”
“We have no cat, Alex.”
“We did but Claude put it into the microwave and it blew up.”
Chuck laughed and then started coughing as a piece of salmon got lodged in his throat. Alex leaned over and began to pound on his back and the smoked fish finally flew out and landed on Alex’s bathrobe.
“Oh gross! I think that’s part of the cat. You were eating pussy, Dad! Pretty good for an old guy like you.”
“I’ll old guy you, you small vagina.”
“That’s right, make fun of my size. Gwen sure didn’t.”
“Alex!”
“Fine. Claude told me a cool joke last night while my kid was swimming for his life. What do you call that useless skin around a vagina?”
“I don’t know.”
“A woman.”
Chuck laughed again and finished off the second sandwich.
“You are one sick puppy, kid, and Claude is worse.”
“He’s neat. I mean you’re the best but Claude is number two.”
“Speaking of that,” Chuck said as he pulled back the covers and slid out of bed, “I’m off to the toilet. As long as I’m up, I’ll shove more wood on the fire. It’s goddam cold in here.”
When he came back from the bathroom, he dumped more logs onto the grate and then discovered that Alex was in the bed.
“Get out of the bed, kid.”
“No, it’s cold in here.”
Chuck pulled back the covers.
“Goddam it, Alex, get out of my bed!”
“No, I won’t. I made your lunch and now I’m going to get warm. You know, if you stand there long enough, you’ll freeze your balls off.”
Chuck slid down onto the bed and pulled the covering up to his chin. He stayed well over to one side of the bed out of a sense of propriety.
“Alex, if someone comes in here, how am I going to explain what a nice fifteen year old boy is doing in my bed?”
“Tell them we’re all naked and covered with oil, why not?”
“Jesus, shut up! You’re not naked, are you?”
“Not yet. If you want me to….”
“No! Just lie there and be quiet, OK?”
There was silence for a brief time, a silence broken by a yelp from Chuck as Alex put his very cold feet against his leg.
“Alex, what are you doing?”
“I was walking around with bare feet, Chuck, and my feet are cold.”
“So I just found out. Why don’t you just lie there nice and quiet and keep your goddam feet off my body?”
Alex removed the feet.
“You hurt my feelings.”
“I’ll hurt more than that if you don’t quit molesting me.”
There was silence for a few minutes broken only by the whistling and booming of the wind against the house.
“Chuck?”
“Yes.”
“Is Gwen really mad at me?”
“I don’t think so, Alex. I mean she knew what she was doing and getting knocked up should have been no surprise.”
“I think she hates me. Claude told me she was trying to get you to send me away to some military school.”
“Claude talks too much.”
“Did she?”
“Yes.”
“And you said….?”
“Ask Claude.”
“And you said…?”
“I said no. Does that make you happy?”
“Yes, it does. Why not send her away?”
“Where to?”
“How about a terrorist school?”
“Alex!”
“Well, why not? She’s always talking about shooting guys in the eye in a swimming pool and stuff like that. And she nailed those bears pretty good. I think she likes to kill people.”
“Gwen has had problems in her childhood, Alex, and we have to make allowances for that.”
“And I didn’t have problems with my childhood? Tell me about it. But I don’t go around shooting people in the eyes.”
“You nailed your bear pretty good, kid, and I notice you cut off its head and boiled it down like a real pro.”
“Anyway, this place is like a hotel. All you do is cook for everybody and who helps you with the dirty dishes?”
“You do. Don’t brag.”
“I do. I told you, this is like a hotel. I mean, what does Lars do? He locks himself in his room and watches kiddy porn all day long. I mean, that’s really exciting. And he never does anything around here but eat, sleep and shit. Maybe he and Gwen can get married and go off and live in Canada or something.”
“I don’t think Lars would particularly want to live in Canada, Alex.”
“Why?”
“I have no idea but Canada is not very hospitable to some people and just leave it at that.”

(Continued)

This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Shannon Strayhorn

The Thinking Moms’ Revolution is a website devoted to mothers who like to try their hand at what they characterize as thinking but also unfortunately lack any comprehension of what critical thinking could possibly involve (yes, it’s hard: It must be learned), how to evaluate evidence or in general many of the topics they choose to write about. The result is, of course, rampant pseudoscience, new age bullshittery and denialism – anti-vaccine views are for instance regularly promoted – and their conclusions are based not so much on thinking as on feeling their way to their own gut reaction, guided by carefully selected and framed anecdotes.
Shannon Strayhorn, for instance, is one of the “THINKERS”. She is not very good at it. (Perhaps nagging doubt is why they felt the need to put “THINKERS” in capital letters.) Instead, she tries to compensate with a large dose of self-righteousness and sense of self-importance. Strayhorn appears to consider herself as something of a modern-day, anti-vaccine Sun Tzu in her post “If You Know Your Enemy and Know Yourself …”. She fails miserably on that second part, of course, and, indeed, equally miserably on the first. When she signed up for Paul Offit’s free online course on vaccines at CHOP, for instance, Strayhorn “didn’t sign up to learn something about vaccines, as I have been studying that for years” (yes, the University of Google); she “signed up to learn about the opposition.” Yes, the result is a brilliant display of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.
It wasn’t the first time Strayhorn signed up for such a course, and her previous antics in a course on vaccine clinical trials offered by Johns Hopkins University is telling: Instead of trying to learn anything, Strayhorn rather went directly to the student discussion boards to spread antivaccine misinformation and anecdotes (she has, for instance, weighed in on the so-called “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory with, well, conspiracy mongering (“mainstream media isn’t covering it”)). The other students were, predictably, not particularly impressed with her contributions, and it is worth quoting Strayhorn’s reaction to being rebuffed by the other students in full, since it gives such a fascinating and telling glimpse of where she is coming from: “I kindly said while I am soooooo impressed with their degrees and careers that I find it scary that someone so educated could in fact get to that point considering they couldn’t even be bothered to read the science, and couldn’t counter one little mom like myself. I asked if it was necessary to post my resume too? I was told we are just parents who are so clueless and don’t understand what the difference is between causation and correlation, that the discussion was going to be stopped because it was off topic, and that it wasn’t necessary to counter what I shared because the science was in and definite. Definitely in. Bahahaha….oh it is in….but it is clearly not showing what they want!” Yes, that’s the kind of person we are talking about. You know the kind.
According to Strayhorn, however, there is no need to learn because the issue is settled: “We don’t need to combat the same old nonsense. We have the information. We moved the goal posts. We won’t be dragged into ridiculous debates from ten years ago. There is no debate. We are not going to allow the same old tactics.” Well, they certainly moved the goal posts, but their tactics are precisely the same they were ten years ago – what Strayhorn means is of course that she is going to continue to disregard the obvious responses to her tactics and talking points provided ten years ago and ever since.
Diagnosis: Yes, a regular antivaccine troll, nothing more, but Strayhorn does her trolling with a level of self-righteousness and sense of self-importance that is truly dazzling, even for her ilk. Probably one of the best examples of Dunning-Kruger and Mount Stupid in our Encyclopedia.

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